Buoys and also markers space the "traffic signals" that overview vessel operators safely along some waterways. They also identify dangerous or managed areas and give directions and information. Learn around the different types and colors of buoys and also markers in this section.

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Lateral Markers

These navigation aids note the edges of for sure water areas: for example, directing traffic within a channel. The markers use a combination of colors and also numbers, which may show up on either buoys or permanently inserted markers.

Colors and also Numbers

The colors and also numbers have the same an interpretation regardless that the sort of buoy or marker on which lock appear.

Red Colors, Red Lights and also Even Numbers

These note the sheet of the channel on her starboard (right) side together you enter from open sea or head upstream. Numbers usually increase consecutively as you return from open sea or head upstream.

Green Colors, green Lights and also Odd Numbers

These note the edge of the channel on your port (left) side together you go into from open sea or head upstream. Number usually rise consecutively together you return from open up sea or head upstream.

Red and also Green colour and/or Lights

These are put at the junction of two channels to indicate the wanted (primary) channel as soon as a channel splits. If eco-friendly is ~ above top, the preferred channel is to the right. If red is ~ above top, the preferred channel is come the left. These can likewise be referred to as "junction buoys."


Nun BuoyThese cone-shaped buoys space always marked with red markings and even numbers. They note the sheet of the channel on your starboard (right) side when entering from open up sea or heading upstream.

can Buoy

These cylindrical-shaped buoys room always significant with environment-friendly markings and also odd numbers. They mark the edge of the channel on her port (left) side when entering from open up sea or heading upstream.

other Kinds of Buoys and also Markers

Lighted BuoysThese buoys use lateral marker shapes, colors and also numbers, and have a corresponding colored light.


These space permanent signs attached to structures, such together posts, in the water. Usual daymarks room red triangles (equivalent to nuns) and also green squares (equivalent come cans). They additionally may be lighted.

"Red appropriate Returning"

In many circumstances, you deserve to use this phrase as a reminder of the exactly course when returning from open waters or heading upstream.

sport on the U.S. Aids to Navigation device

The Intercostal Waterway (ICW) is a chain the local channels linked together to carry out an inland passage along the Atlantic and also Gulf the Mexico coasts. Networks that are component of the ICW are established by yellow signs on channel buoys and markers. When adhering to the ICW from new Jersey heading toward Brownsville, Texas, this rules apply:

any kind of marker displaying a yellow triangle should be passed by keeping it ~ above the starboard (right) next of the vessel.Any mite displaying a yellow square should be pass by maintaining it on the harbor (left) side of the vessel.These rules organize regardless the the form or shade of the channel mite or buoy on i beg your pardon the ICW symbols space displayed. When following the ICW, the yellow markings should be supplied as guides, quite than the colors and shapes of the lateral navigation markers ~ above which castle appear. Intercoastal Waterway symbols are most typically found ~ above daymarks.

Western Rivers System

This device of markers is used on the Mississippi River and its tributaries above Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and on some other rivers that flow toward the Gulf the Mexico. Navigation markers top top the western Rivers system are not numbered. Numbers displayed below daymarks follow me this mechanism are not associated with the right or left side of the channel; this numbers suggest distance from the river's mouth (except the Ohio River, indicating distance for the headwaters).

Non-Lateral markers

These provide information various other than the edges of safe water areas. Castle are uncovered on lakes and rivers and also are offered to:

provide directions and also informationWarn of hazards and obstructionsMark managed areasMark exclusion (closed) areas
safe Water mite

These room white with red vertical stripes and indicate unobstructed water on every sides. They note mid-channels and fairway, and also may it is in passed on either side.

Inland Waters Obstruction mite

These space white v black vertical stripes and indicate one obstruction come navigation. You must not pass in between these buoys and the nearest shore.

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Mooring Buoys

These room white v a blue horizontal band, usually inserted in marinas and other areas where ship are allowed to anchor. These room the only buoys you may tie up to legally.